California Agency Says Teacher Misconduct Cases Are at a Ten-Year High

It’s not your imagination and it’s not media saturation. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which reviews instances of alleged teacher misconduct, says it is dealing with its highest number of cases in over a decade.

The agency received 5,895 misconduct cases last year, which was 400 more than five years ago. The last time it had to field this many instances of possible misconduct was back in 2007.

The number of cases has been rising steadily since 2012 when there were a series of high-profile instances of teacher misconduct, including a sex abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles. The Commission is careful to note that better reporting, not necessarily higher instances of teacher wrongdoing, may account for the dramatic rise.

According to Voice of San Diego, “more than half of all reported misconduct cases come from credential applicants – people trying to obtain a teaching credential – and the rest are by credential holders, including teachers and administrators. The highest number of reports come from new credential applicants who falsely disclose no history of a criminal background, credential holders who are reported to the commission for committing a crime.”

The largest number of cases (about 42%) involve alcohol. Sex crimes against children comprise 7%, while drug-related incidents account for about 4%. The Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the largest in the state, has produced the highest number of cases.

The rising caseloads mean it takes more time for the Commission to decide whether or not to revoke credentials. That means more problem teachers remaining in the classroom for longer periods of time.

“The system was not designed to manage this kind of volume,” the Commission’s executive director Mary Vixie Sandy told Voucdof San Diego. “It just wasn’t.”

The agency may begin hiring more people to prevent a larger pileup of unreviewed cases.

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